Crime in the 1920s-30s


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Crime in the 1920s-30s

  1. 1. Prohibition In the 1920s, the United States passed the 18th amendment, or “The Volstead Act” stating that no intoxicating liquor(liquor with an alcohol content above 0.5%) was to be manufactured, imported, exported, sold or transported, except for medicinal purposes. The prohibition act was the beginning of bootlegging or the illegal manufacture and transportation of liquor.
  2. 2. The idea was that prohibition would lower alcoholic consumption, therefore lowering crime and death in the US. However, the results were quite the opposite. Although the 18th amendment banned all manufacture, transportation, and sale of liquor, it did not ban the consumption. Mobsters and bootleggers made millions from those who bought alcohol from them, they were the ones taking the risk; not the drinkers. Now that these criminals had become big shots, more people were tempted to follow in their footsteps.
  3. 3. The mob used prohibition to gain a foothold for organized crime. Alcohol consumption raised considerably; speakeasies, or illegal bars were opened all over the country. People started to protest the act not because of alcohol, but because of the immense growing rate of crime. In 1933 the 21st amendment was ratified, repealing the 18th amendment. Alcohol was no longer illegal.
  4. 4. The Great Depression The Great Depression was years of poverty, starvation and crime in the US. In 1929 on a day known as “Black Tuesday” a large crash in the stock market caused people rich in stocks to suddenly become poor. It caused businesses to close and factories to be shut down. Millions of US citizens were left unemployed. Left with no jobs or means of supporting a family, many people turned to crime. These were the days that we saw the rise of Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, and many other successful criminals. “Burglar enters splendid home of well- known stock broker!”
  5. 5. Al Capone During the time of Prohibition, Al Capone was one of the most successful bootleggers/mobsters around. Some call him America’s best known gangster. He made millions by selling illegally manufactured liquor. In 1925 Capone became the mob boss of a gang in Chicago that was once lead by John Torrio. Capone’s worst enemies were the Northsiders, including “Bugs” Moran, whom he lived in constant fear of. Capone died of syphilis on January 25th, 1947.
  6. 6. Bonnie and Clyde Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were infamous robbers during the Great Depression. They never had a permanent home, usually living in whatever car they had stolen; they were always on the road. They had a two year crime spree from 1932-1934, in which most all of their robberies and murders took place. Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed in their car on May 23, 1934 by a group of police officers from both Texas and Louisiana. They had concealed themselves in bushes on the side of a highway in Louisiana, which they knew the couple were to drive down in the morning. When they passed, the officers opened fired killing them both.
  7. 7. John Dillinger During the 1930s John Dillinger was a very successful bank robber, and earned himself the title “Public Enemy Number One”. By many, he was known as the Robin Hood of The Great Depression, and got the nickname Jackrabbit by his swift movements and narrow escapes from police and the FBI. He escaped from an “escape proof” jail in Indiana, on march 3rd, 1934 with a fake hand gun he had whittled. On July 22nd, 1934 at the age of 31, he was shot down by the FBI outside of a movie theater. He attended a film with his girlfriend and another woman, who ratted him out to the FBI, and told them about the movie they were to attend. She was identified by a red dress, and John Dillinger became the gangster given up by the “Lady in Red”
  8. 8. J. Edgar Hoover J. Edgar Hoover was a powerful yet very controversial figure, that lead the FBI in their attempt to stop gangsters and crime In the 1930s. In 1924 he became the director of the Bureau of Investigation, and in 1935 he became the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation(difference being agents were now able to be armed). He remained director of the FBI until his death in 1972, at age 77, and had lead the FBI for 48 years, making it grow into what it is now. He brought down such gangsters as John Dillinger, “Baby Face Nelson, “Machine Gun” Kelly, and “Pretty Boy” Floyd
  9. 9. Bibliography “Prohibition in the United States.” Wikipedia. 1 May. 2009 “Great Depression in the United States” Wikipedia 1 May. 2009 <> “Major Events of the 1920’s.” 1 May. 2009 <> “Al Capone.” Wikipedia 1 May. 2009 <> “Al Capone TIMELINE” 1 May. 2009 <> Rosa, Paul. “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde.” 1 May. 2009 <> Rosenburg, Jennifer. “Bonnie and Clyde.” 1 May. 2009 <> “John Dillinger” Wikipedia 1 May. 2009 <> “John Edgar Hoover” Spartacus Educational <> “J. Edgar Hoover (1895 - 1972)” Find a Grave 1 Jan. 2001. 1 May. 2009 <> “John Dillinger” NNDB 1 May. 2009 <> “The Great Depression in Cartoons, Part 7: Miscellaneous Drawings from 1931” Archelaus 13 Feb. 2009. 1 May. 2009 part-7-miscellaneous-drawings-from-1931/